Home teams looking for upsets in Round 1

Planning a wager on the first week of NRL action? Here are how the matches are looking for the opening week of the 2012 NRL season.

Every year there are a few upsets in Round 1, this year should be no different. Three of the home teams (Parramatta, Canberra and Penrith) are outsiders in Round 1. Home ground advantage will play a big factor if any of these teams are to cause an early season upset.

NEWCASTLE $1.55 v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA $2.40

The Knights are favourites to beat the Dragons in the opening game of the season. “Newcastle have bought well and with Wayne Bennett at the helm they will rarely start outsider at home,” TAB Sportsbet's Matt Jenkins said.

“The Dragons have a phenomenal record in Newcastle, they haven’t lost at the venue since 2003,”  

PARRAMATTA $2.30 v BRISBANE $1.60

The big move has been for Brisbane ($1.85 to $1.60) following the injury sustained to Jarryd Hayne in a pre-season game.

“Parramatta ($17) has been popular to win the competition, with plenty of expectation on Chris Sandow,” Jenkins said.

SOUTHS $1.90 v SYDNEY ROOSTERS $1.90

“The loss of Isaac Luke for their round 1 clash with the Roosters is a major blow,” Jenkins said.

“The Roosters have firmed to win the match, largely due to the absence of Luke.

“Currently the game is a toss of the coin with both teams $1.90, after the Roosters opened $2.15.”

TOP TRY SCORER

Akuila Uate ($7) scored 19 tries last year and is rated the man to score more tries than anybody else in the regular season.

“Akuila Uate is on the end of the most exciting backline in the competition. The Knights look to have plenty of points in them and Uate will bag his fair share,” Jenkins said.

Nathan Merritt and Ben Barba shared the honours with 23 tries last year. “It is no surprise Merritt and Barba figure prominently in the market for 2012. Billy Slater ($21) has appeal to people looking for value.”

DALLY M MEDAL

“TAB Sportsbet punters have ensured Jonathan Thurston ($8) is favourite to win the prestigious medal with plenty of early support. The Cowboys’ playmaker opened at $15 but is looking at a big year according to our customers,” Jenkins said.

“Todd Carney has been sensationally backed to repeat his efforts of 2010 and win the Dally M medal. Cronulla’s star recruit opened at $51; he has firmed into $13 making him one of the main contenders,”

Benji Marshall is looking for his first Dally M medal and is on the second line of betting at $9.